Haley Reinhart takes inspiration from the past to construct ‘Lo-Fi Soul’

Haley Reinhart 1 - credit Dana Trippe
Photo Credit: Dana Trippe

In an interview with Riff Magazine, Haley Reinhart spoke of the inspiration behind her newest album, Lo-Fi Soul and that it was a collision of two worlds. One world that was an entirely new album, but also embodying the spirit of her 2015 cover of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and 2017 album, What’s That Sound? In music, artists are usually the product of both the artists that they grew up listening to and personal experiences.

The first three songs of this album, “Deep Water,” “Oh Baby,” and the title track, “Lo-Fi Soul,” are indicative of the direction that Reinhart strives to take within the almost 47 minute listen. It’s cohesive to a point of being a throwback to the times of doo-wop, r&b, and even jazz. This album prefers to weave in and out of genres like an old-time jukebox caught in a time machine. “Oh Baby” invokes the spirit and progressions similar to acts like The Supremes.

The title track begins a joyful, upbeat narrative of sounds from another time. Listening to the album in full, you will definitely feel like most of these sounds come straight out of your record player. Perhaps times where the oldest members of your family saw things in black and white and drive in movies were still popular and prevalent. Reinhart strives to take that and modernize it with her own touch.

“Don’t Know How To Love You’ sees Reinhart’s voice front and center against a backdrop of a single guitar to start off. Then organs, trumpets, background vocals, and faint drums are introduced, producing a very old-school aesthetic. This and “How Dare You” exhibit more rock and roll elements.

“Strange World” plays with Reinhart’s vocals within an echo that bounces off each other in a tale about getting lost within someone. Like “Deep Water,” Reinhart multiplies her vocals in a layer that almost feels like utilizing another instrument or callback to the main set of vocals.

“Lay It Down,” a ballad that has both piano and organ chords fill in around Reinhart as she recalls the shards of a love fallen apart displays gospel tendencies. This song as well as “Some Way, Some How,” continues a theme with the ballads on the album that serve to elevate the emotion of Reinhart’s subject matter. “Some Way, Some How,” includes string arrangements in a plea to try to salvage a love went south.

“Honey, There’s The Door,” invokes themes like Casanova and figures like Bridget Bardot and Marilyn Monroe in a playful expose reminiscent of 60’s pop. “Baby Doll” sounds like the most modern song on the album that can fit with the contemporary pop style of today. Within the consistent theme of the album, it may stick out as going against the grain to what Lo-Fi Soul is trying to go for.

Lo-Fi Soul is a throwback album that Reinhart is able to create to feel in a time that inspires her the most with a touch that she could make. Messages of infatuation, lost love, and not settling for less than what you deserve are all universal no matter what era of music you listen to. This album is the product of a simpler time in a world where pop draws from a more modern formula.